Venous popliteal entrapment syndrome

Christine K. Chen, Marcin Kolber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Popliteal entrapment syndrome (PES) describes a set of symptoms related to compression of the neurovascular bundle in the popliteal fossa, with popliteal artery involvement the most widely recognized variation. Popliteal vein entrapment is a rare variation which can easily go undiagnosed. This is most commonly due to an anomaly of the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle, but other etiologies include excess adipose tissue or cysts within the popliteal fossa, popliteal artery aneurysm, fibrous bands, thickened perivenous fascia, compression by the popliteus muscle or muscular hypertrophy independent of anomalous anatomy, or variant origin of the short saphenous vein. However, with improving awareness, it is a condition which should be increasingly considered in patients presenting with unexplained lower extremity swelling or other symptoms of lower extremity thrombosis. The initial test of choice is typically ultrasound with flexion and extension maneuvers. Venography is the gold standard for diagnosis, but MRI offers a noninvasive option for both diagnosis and evaluation of etiology and should be considered in the work-up of popliteal venous entrapment. Management is based on severity and type of symptoms, ranging from conservative management with compression stockings to surgical management if there is popliteal artery involvement or more severe symptoms. Endovascular therapy such as angioplasty or stenting has also been reported with good results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1171
Number of pages4
JournalCardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Popliteal vein compression
  • Popliteal vein entrapment
  • Venous compression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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